Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Lizard, er Gecko, that will change search.

Since Geico decided to sue Google and Yahoo/Overture for infringing on its trademarks, there hasnt been much attention to how big this case really is and the precedent it will set.

If you do a search for top 100 keywords for the week here you will see the majority of the words are either copyrighted or trademarked.

Research shows that many inquiries at search engines are for brand names or trademarked terms. Within the finance category, for example, more than half the total searches are for branded keywords such as Wells Fargo, according to ComScore Networks, a market research company.

Companies/artists spend a great deal of time and money to build a brand. They spend millions of dollars in r/d (pharmaceuticals), hire the perfect spokesperson/ ad agency or find other ways to assure their brand is unique and known by its name.

A brand or trademark is in some ways, like a barrier to entry.

How right is it for Google, or any other search engine, to be able to generate revenues off of a brand name, let alone competitors to essentially use their brand to advertise.
Let the owner of yaho.com open a portal/search engine and see if Yahoo minds. Google already owns googel.com, they didnt take any chances.

But I see the major TV networks advertising their shows on competing cable channels, I dont understand the logic in that. But each party is aware of what/where they are advertising..so I guess thats fair.

Previously, Google had granted requests from advertisers, including 1-800 Contacts and eBay, to bar competitors from bidding on their trademarked names. Now why just these companies?

One author states that the TM owner doesnt own the keyword , well he sure should be able to control how its used.
This is a form of bait-and-switch advertising. The user knows what he wants, but the search engine is intentionally advertising a competitors product. More like the search versus navigate definition.

There are a couple of solutions.

There will be a way for every trademark owner to have a specific link to the URL of their choice..(there will be no confusion as to where the owner wants you to go, or who they want to have advertise on their behalf).A "word registry" is being created, that combines the TM with a barcode/created code, where there will be no doubt where the TM owner wants you to go.

The search engine would have to allow any search that uses a TM to have the TM owners site at the top of the search. If the users intent was to find Nike tennis shoes, then at the top of the search should be the site Nike chooses.

There's a fine line between knowing a specific brand and the products a brand name represents.
Like the author states, let the competition get creative and figure phrases that match the result.

Im curious to see how the little lizard makes out against Google and Yahoo.
Depending on the outcome,I betcha I know a certain company that wants a cut of the money Google, and others, have made off the Little Blue Pill

My guess is, that if Google loses this case to Geico, we will see a rise (I couldnt resist) in trademark suits and Google's ppc biz will be affected in a big way.

There is a way to make all parties happy though....coming soon.

No Fights At This Game

Interactive advertising being used in all form of medium ...TV, radio, billboard (Jumbotron). SMS Text2Win with NY KNicks
Boston MA (PRWEB) November 24, 2004 -- Unwired Appeal and Insite Media Group launched TextnWatch2Win100K last week when the NY Knicks took on the LA Clippers Friday night. During the first quarter of select Knicks’ games, fans are broadcast questions via television ads, radio spots, and SMS. After registering, participants can instantly reply to questions using text-messaging from their cell phones.
“Its another great example of the power and simplicity of text-messaging for creating an interactive promotional event,” continued Griffin. ”Anyone in the broadcast audience with a cell phone is able to participate whether they are watching the game from the stands, viewing on television at home, or listening to the radio on the road.”

Mobile marketing=Interactive Branding

Great find Russell!
It always takes a while for new technologies to adapt to be used for advertising. If one looks at the introduction of radio, television and the internet; the gap between introduction as a media and when it started being taken seriously as a promotional vehicle has varied between 10 and 20 years.
Gartner, presenting at the same breakfast briefing sees 3 scenarios. They differ about the particular type of wireless marketing to win out, but with magazine readership at an all time low and television changing to filter out ads, each scenario sees wireless taking a larger share of the advertising budget.
This scenario will only come to pass if marketers are open to trying something new and technically based mobile marketing companies learn to talk the language of brands. If the two sides can meet in the middle, then there is a great opportunity for a new and exciting method of marketing communications.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Google TV?

From C/Net News.com..
Striking up digital video search

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are quietly developing new search tools for digital video, foreshadowing a high-stakes technology arms race in the battle for control of consumers' living rooms.
While Google is immediately aiming to cater to the broadband market, Microsoft has its sights on the interactive TV market for cable providers, being ushered in by convergence devices like its Microsoft Media Center PC software. It is building technology that will let people with a Media Center PC or Internet-connected TV comb through and find specific video files available over the Internet, broadcast and video-on-demand networks, according to a source.
Search is the glue that will one day bind these services and help consumers navigate the increasing amount of available content, media executives say. Already interactive programming guide makers have moved to make search more advanced, and companies like Comcast are beginning to sign up for those services. Comcast recently inked a partnership with Microsoft's ITV division to use its interactive programming guides.

I think I will bet with Bill G on this one. When you are looking for a video search where are you more apt to play it? on your pc or that new 60" DLP set? Once TV turns interactive, the pc takes a back seat to TV for surfing.

RFid Push Coming..the"mobile cookie"?

From this weekends Barrons newspaper.(Subscription required)

"Wal-Mart (WMT) and the Department of Defense, both of which exercise influence over vast networks of suppliers, have provided the biggest push to date for the development of RFID. The technology could transform the economy on a scale similar to that of the PC and the Internet. "

Rfid tags will be the new barcodes but with much more data, and offering information across a universal network (internet) versus with the store. They will eventually be the mobile version of "cookies".

When you scan an rfid tag with your cellphone you will be tracked and advertisers will be able to personally advertise to you in realtime on your phone. Because every rfid tag will have an internet address and when you do scan a tag it will be the equivalent of going to a website and leaving a cookie. But this will be done with your mobile device, a whole new way to market.

So what will companies do w/ this valuable info? and what companies/services will recognize this first and realize the advertising goldmine that awaits...

The Future Is Mobile

From Zawya.com.
Mobile marketing offers real potential, says new survey
The convergence of the telecom and media industries is leading to new opportunities in infotainment-related value-added services, including mobile marketing. This development could prove to be an effective way to invigorate the historically underdeveloped direct marketing industry in the region and open up an attractive new option for advertisers.The upside potential and unique nature of mobile marketing at the intersection of media, telecom and advertising is attracting four types of players with varying business models.

¿ Telecom operators are attempting to leverage existing application and service provisioning to build direct marketing capabilities. Operators' key advantage lies in their existing mobile portals, billing relationships, large customer databases and their position on the value chain as the gatekeeper to customer access. However, operators are not advertising agencies and have no experience in designing and running campaigns. Therefore, many have been content to focus on simple format, high-volume consumer campaigns such as TV voting or selling SMS in bulk to corporate clients.

¿ Advertising agencies are extending their traditional media services offerings into the mobile marketing space. The key strategic objective is to complement traditional media campaigns with mobile marketing vehicles such as SMS in order to differentiate their offerings to existing clients and attract new brand relationships. Most agencies, such as Carat Interactive and Oglivy One, are partnering with content and application service providers to secure technology and delivery capabilities. Some new entrant players, such as 12Snap, aim to position themselves as new media agencies specialised in interactive mobile marketing. They do this by focusing on mobile marketing creative services and partnering with application service providers, such as Lucent and NeoMedia for mobile software, and patented technologies, such as PaperClick (an application to capture bar codes and ISDN product codes through a Nokia mobile camera and retrieve product information including the retail price in alternative outlets).

¿ Operator partner companies are spin-offs from mobile operators in order to prevent the momentum of the much larger core business from subduing the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of their new mobile marketing ventures.

¿ Independent players are greenfield entrants offering specialised mobile marketing applications, content and services including integrated creative and campaign management services.

These different players are gearing up to win future mobile marketing campaigns that are becoming increasingly sophisticated and integrated in nature. Rudimentary mobile marketing campaigns such as branded ringtones/logos and mass SMS for event marketing are unlikely to persist in the future. More elaborate and integrated mobile marketing is already emerging in the form
of mobile promotion coupons, branded multi-level games and CRM marketing that includes personalised information alerts (customer retention), loyalty schemes and mobile community marketing. A good example is when Mobileway and Adreact created a campaign for Dunkin Donuts in Rome, Italy, which was designed to increase footfall in the Dunkin Donuts stores and raise awareness of the brand. The lead was in the form of four billboards, two-week radio plugs, 1,500 leaflets dropped among students, and posters in all eight of the Rome outlets. Donut lovers were invited to enter a prize draw using SMS, receiving in return a money-off or free coffee voucher sent back to the consumer's handset for redemption in stores. Further interaction was encouraged with options to text to obtain addresses of the franchise outlets, statistics regarding Dunkin Donuts, or employment information. Redemption of the SMS coupon in-store and purchase of a donut automatically entered users into a draw for a free Piaggio scooter..

When will search engines realize the advertising dollar will shift to mobile platforms? And how will they make money from this when search takes on a new look when it goes mobile..

Music to be 3G killer app

From IT Web.
Music to be 3G killer app

Cape Town | ITWeb, 29 November 2004] - Music and graphics will be the killer application for 3G cellular offerings and everything else such as movie clips will continue to be the poor cousin, says cellular content provider iTouch.

“Studies have shown that the early adopters are very young people, while the adults are far slower to move into it. The young like to have the latest movie-related ringtones and tune-tones and to download graphics of celebrities as part of identifying with a ‘tribe',” Levin says...or maybe Smart Mobs?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Another TradeMark Suit

Thanks John Battelle

11/26/04: SYRACUSE — The Brannock Device Co., makers of the famous foot-measuring device, has filed suit against ABC Industries, Inc., accusing the Long Island–based, store-fixture dealer of infringing on its “Brannock Device” trademark. The suit is a tale of the established, traditional Brannock technology meeting with the Internet’s emerging advertising methods.
A keyword-linked advertisement on the Google search engine prompted Brannock to file suit Nov. 9 in federal court in the Northern District of New York.
When Google users typed “Brannock Device,” an ad for ABC popped up on the right side of the results page, according to the complaint. The ABC ad shown in the complaint is headlined “Brannock Device” and includes the abctarget.com Web address. The complaint also alleges that ABC included “Brannock Device” in the meta-tag keywords for its Web site. The meta-tags are the hidden words describing a Web site that a search engine uses to help identify the page’s content. Brannock’s complaint also alleges it has identified two consumers who were actually fooled into buying non-Brannock measuring devices from ABC.

What happens when trademarked words get "registered" in an online database and have their own hyperlink? Will this solve this upcoming battle? Will this force the way search engines do business?

Friday, November 26, 2004

Online Ads Gain Muscle

From USA Today..

By Jon Swartz, USA TODAY
After failing to live up to the hype for years, the Internet is fast becoming a staple of major advertising drives, according to recent reports.
"The Internet has been incorporated into the media mix, along with TV, newspapers and magazines," says Dan Ciporin, CEO of Shopping.com, a comparison-shopping site. "Increasingly, it's part of every company's media buy."
The trend is expected to continue as more consumers use wireless devices to search the Web and shop. Ted Schlein of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers predicts a rise in wireless-based ads.

Two things.....wasn't Kleiner Perkins a VC for Google, and second, how will advertisers advertise through wireless devices? People won't be using a search engine w/ their cellphone.

Googles search engine and affiliates are responsible for much of todays advertising, but how will they tackle the cellphone space?...It's kind of hard to generate "pay-per-click" revenue on a cellphone, unless it now gets measured by "scan-per-click" or "say-per-click".

Thursday, November 25, 2004

What Happens When Search LEAVES The Desktop

Search moves to the desktop
The arrival of the PC with desktop hard disk drives (with large storage space at affordable price point) was such a luxury that users practically ‘forgot’ about the storage problem and lost the ‘discipline’ of managing one’s data. By the mid ’90s, the explosion of the internet and the widespread use of e-mail made the problem re-surface.
The 21st century saw the challenge shift from one of storage to search capability. Long used to the idea that ‘anything that is machine readable can be searched by superfast computers in a jiffy,’ ... and now cellphones
The arrival and maturity of several search engines, Yahoo, Inktomi and Google over the past 10 years and the recent meteoric rise of Google has shifted the focus away from desktop to the internet cloud.

But what happens when search goes from one dimension to three?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Patents "Pending"?

Tech Giants Edgy Over Web Services Patent Sales

The upcoming auction of dozens of key Web services patents in a California bankruptcy case has some big Silicon Valley companies on edge.

Among them are Google, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. Attorneys for those and more than a dozen other companies held a powwow this week to discuss the patent sale and the danger of becoming targets of infringement suits by whomever acquires them.

Alarm is growing within the high-tech industry over what some say is a trend toward speculative patent acquisitions. Critics say companies that acquire patent rights to technology that they played no role in creating in order to profit from infringement suits are violating the spirit of patent law, which is supposed to reward innovative companies. A number of companies specialize in this practice, including Intellectual Ventures, started by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold.

Does any of the $30B or so Microsoft have in the bank get earmarked for these?

The Code That Ate Tokyo

From Wired Mag.
The Code That Ate Tokyo
The barcode is so dead. In Japan, where they dish out the future like candy, everything from magazine ads to vending machines bears next-generation identifiers called Quick Response codes. They look like extreme close-ups of television static, but QRs encode data in two directions - up-and-down in addition to the old Universal Product Code's across. So QRs can hold 100 times as much info: URLs, text, and even low-resolution images.
Yes, other so-called two-dimensional barcode standards exist. But Quick Response hit the big time in 2003 when cell providers DoCoMo, AU, and Vodafone began selling handsets with QR readers.
Now it succeeds where codereaders likeCueCat failed. You can buy soda pop or scan the QR in a magazine ad with your cell and get taken to a related Web site on your phone's browser. And schoolgirls are going nuts for a series of fortune-telling books full of codes that turn your mobile into a Magic 8 Ball.

Will the codes catch on elsewhere? It's hard to tell. QR is best for ideographic languages like Japanese; other 2-D standards, like the Maxi Code, are showing up in the States. We'll probably know soon - most cool Japanese toys make it to the US eventually

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Amazon Enters The Physical World


Mobile Weblog
While Amazon has been indirectly skirmishing with traditional retailers since they started, their new move in Japan is tantamount to a direct declaration of war.

Their "Amazon Scan Search" product allows users to download a free application onto their camera-enabled mobile phone. This allows them to scan barcodes of ordinary products and then search Amazon.co.jp for it.

Not only does this allow them to make an instant price comparison, but they can decide to purchase the product instantly, from Amazon via their phone.

This puts the retail price directly in the spot light and offline retailers with their higher overhead aren't going to like it at all.

Of course, we've had price comparison products before. Originally from Scan.com (which went bust a few years ago) and more recently from Scanbuy.

However, these were independent efforts and lacked the huge marketing muscle of the mighty Amazon.

Outside of books, I can think of about a couple other billion items Amazon could offer price comparison too. Wonder what took them so long to think of this

Marchex Buys Name Development Ltd.

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 23, 2004--Marchex, Inc. (Nasdaq:MCHX - News), a provider of technology-based merchant services that facilitate and drive growth in online transactions, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets of Name Development Ltd., a corporation operating in the direct navigation market, for $164.2 million, including $155.2 million in cash and $9 million in stock

Direct navigation refers to one of the methods that online consumers use to search for information, products or services. Direct navigation is primarily characterized by online users directly accessing a Web site by typing descriptive keywords or keyword strings into the uniform resource locator (URL) address box of an Internet browser or by accessing bookmarked Web sites. It can also include navigating to a Web site through referring link traffic or partner traffic sources. As of August 2004, First Albany Capital estimated that the size of the 2004 global search market is approximately $4.5 billion, and will grow to $13.1 billion by 2008. Marchex estimates that the direct navigation market may represent 10% or more of this market.

Additionally, recent industry research highlights that in September 2004 more than 67% of daily global Internet users arrived at Web sites by "direct navigation", defined as typing a URL into a browser address bar or using a bookmark -- rather than through search engines and Web links, up from approximately 53% in February 2002 (Source: WebSideStory, Inc.'s StatMarket division).

Phones, credit cards to blend

Phones, credit cards to blend

Published , November 23, 2004, 06:00:01 AM EDT
Ordering a pizza for a late night study group: $10.

Watching the Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech: $8 for students.

Making purchases from your cell phone: priceless.

At least that is what some major communication and credit card companies like Nokia, Motorola, Sony and MasterCard think.

This newest technology, which would allow cell phone users to make purchases via their phones, is part of a growing trend of purchasing power being steered away from computers toward cell phones.

Scott Shamp, academic director of the New Media Institute, said this type of technology is already in use in Europe and has been talked about for at least 10 years. He said it has not caught on in the United States because many people use their computers for purchases.

He said some technology for camera phones use a spot code, or a bar code, for which a camera phone can take a picture of an object or bar code and purchase it through the phone.

"In Europe, you can buy a movie ticket by taking a picture of the spot code on movie posters and buy your ticket that way," he said, "And you get billed through your cell phone bill."

In Finland consumers can use their cell phones to buy a refreshment from a vending machine, he said.

"You get a picture of whatever you want to get from the machine, then you can just swipe your phone over a reader on the machine." he said. "You basically just pay to have the bar code."

The new technology proposed by MasterCard and certain cell phone manufacturers would allow users to purchase products -- like movie tickets, concert tickets, CDs, admittance on mass transit and other products -- straight from their cell phones, according to a Motorola Inc. press release.

Juli Burda, public relation specialist for Motorola Inc. said a few hundred people in the United States currently are testing the program.

The new technology works like this: each cell phone will be incorporated with a contactless payment technology called Near Field Communication -- which acts as both an identification card and a card reader and is embedded in the cell phones -- to scan Radio Frequency Identification marks which can be found on any object which the phone will read.

While advances in technology offer more convenience in everyday life, it also brings with it security issues.

Wesley Coxwell, a junior from St. Oglethorpe, said he likes the idea of the technology but was concerned with how secure his information would be.

"It would be a quick and easy way to save time, as long as there was a kind of security," he said.

A FIND Engine

Since the very beginning, keyword.com chose the familiar 'search in a box' format
which made keyword.com as easily accessible as any major search engine.
While others 'believed' users would become accustomed to entering Internet keywords in the browser's address bar (where the 'http://...' usually goes), keyword.com realized that 'search in the box' was the way users prefer.

Since the beginning, keyword.com has made clear that its purpose is not as a 'search engine' but instead as a 'find' engine where Internet keyword owners drive users to 'enter the keyword at keyword.com'.

keyword.com has remained true to its simple concept...enter a unique keyword or phrase in a search box, and GO to a content-relevant web page.
KeyWord Database

FREE Internet Phone Keywords... another simple idea.

keyword.com Internet Phone keywords enable users to simply enter a phone number and go to the associated web page on a Site.

A Virtual Amazon Showroom

How many times have you come back from bookscouting with essentially worthless books? How many times have you passed over a book, only to find out later, when you look it up again on Amazon, that it was valuable and in high demand?

ScoutPal is simple and easy to use. Just enter the ISBNs or UPCs, and ScoutPal will "Fetch" the information you need, and quickly present it to you in a concise form. Results include a summary of market prices and quantities, sales rank, editions and availability, and used/new/collectible details. You can customize the content and format of your results, and switch formats at anytime. You can also be alerted if there are Buyers Waiting.

ScoutPal is a subscription-based service. Choose either a Monthly ($9.95) or Quarterly ($29.85) Subscription. You can also sign up for a 1 Week Free Trial subscription, with absolutely no obligation, and no credit card needed. We can offer this because we are certain that once you have used ScoutPal, you will never bookscout without it again.

Why would you pay for this when you can do it for free now?

Monday, November 22, 2004

A Perfect 10?

From Red Herring.

Perfect 10 claims Google gives it away
A purveyor of pornography alleges that Google allows users to steal its smut.
November 20, 2004
Perfect 10, a publisher of an adult entertainment web site and magazine, on Friday filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that the search engine giant provided Internet users with at least 800,000 unauthorized links to images of Perfect 10’s nude models, stealing membership fees and advertising revenue from the Los Angeles publisher. The lawsuit is one of the first of its kind against Google.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles county, claims that Google committed 12 counts of intellectual property violations against Perfect 10 magazine and the web site, Perfect10.com.
Perfect 10 claims in the suit that Google’s violation “is devastating to and threatens the existence of Perfect 10’s business.” The publisher’s attorneys want a jury trial.
Most of the violations alleged by Perfect 10 are copyright claims. The suit states that Google’s search results pull up photos of nude female models that belong to Perfect 10. These search results, according to the suit, constitute an infringement. Google’s search picks up the photos from other Internet locations, which are described in the lawsuit as “stolen content sites,” or web sites that steal images and allow Internet users to avoid paying subscription or membership fees for members-only pornography web sites. Perfect10.com charges $25.50 per month and counts 100,000 visitors per month.

Shouldnt the TradeMark owner be entitled to some of the fees it generates from search engine inquiries? Or better yet, shouldnt there be a way that a user could be directly connected to Perfect 10?

According to the suit, because Google profits from the misdeeds of others on the web, it is legally and financially responsible for the alleged violations.

Perfect 10 wants Google to pay for violating the rights of its nude models, who gain publicity through the Perfect 10 web site and magazine. Google’s other violations, according to the suit, include trademark dilution, wrongful use of a registered trademark, and unfair competition.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Can You SEE Me Now?

“The possibilities for LBS are endless. Everything from locating the whereabouts of a child, through to rendering assistance for roadside service or ordering a taxi can be facilitated when the location of a mobile user is made available to the company supplying the service”, he said.

“The Seeker Wireless difference is that our solutions will work with existing handsets, and don’t rely on GPS type systems. Only a fraction of handsets in Australia are “GPS ready”, and currently no operator is utilising the GPS capabilities of these handsets, which require the user to be outdoors and in view of overhead satellites. The Seeker Wireless solution uses existing phone networks and handsets to provide reliable location information”, said Grill.

“Mobile marketers have been trying for some time now to get the formula right for marketing to mobile phones. With the introduction of Seeker Wireless Location Based Services, mobile marketing becomes more cost effective” said Grill. “Knowing where a user is, combined with their permission to receive targeted marketing information or offers will be a real win-win for marketers and consumers alike”, predicts Grill.

Google Buys Keyhole

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Web search leader Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has acquired Keyhole Corp., a supplier of online satellite maps that allow users to zoom down to street level to specific locations, Google said on Wednesday.

So imagine doing a search for Italian Restaurants 33432 and when your listings come up, an option to click on a Keyhole map is included.

So now you can see whether that restaurant is on the beach, intracoastal, or looks at the ships leaving the port. Zoom in and see how far it is from your hotel or the movie theater.

The next step comes when people that visit these restaurants leave Tags filled with comments for future users.

Not only will this change local search, but it will "enhance" every search listing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Internet of Inventory

From Technology Review

Beyond the Bar Code
While all bags of Oreos bear the same bar code, Electronic Product Codes have so many digits that each bag could receive its own—as could up to a billion billion other items.

The new EPC standard not only specifies a common format for the codes but creates a uniform system for matching the codes with detailed product information, which can be stored anywhere on the Web.